Kazakhstan's Khorgos Eastern Gateway

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Good to visit Kazakhstan again and Khorgos Eastern Gates, the country’s special economic zone (SEZ) and key logistics hub linking China, Central Asia, and ultimately Europe. The 600-hectare project, includes a dry port, industrial zone, and logistics park.

My 4 key thoughts:

1) Dubai’s DP World has the management contract to run the port. The firm has experience managing other SEZs, such as Dubai’s JAFZA, and is introducing similar processes and technologies to boost efficiency and lower freight costs.

2) China’s COSCO Shipping and Port of Lianyungang have also acquired a 49% stake in the dry port facility. Their participation will help boost freight flows via Khorgos, rather than Dostyk, an older dry port 200-kilometres to the northeast.

3) The dry port enjoyed strong growth in 2017, mainly intermediating freight between China and Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan. If costs fall, as planned, Khorgos will also attract a greater share of freight flows destined for Europe.

4) A new multi-lane highway has significantly shortened the distance between Almaty and Khorgos. The trip takes just 3.5 hours, compared to 6 hours previously, and will boost road freight as an alternative to rail.